September 01, 2009

“I Lost All My Files!”

It was a day like today when my computer went kablooey.

Around this time last year, the power went out, and the computer whirred to a stop. The next time I tried to start up the computer, it destroyed my user account. The computer literally wouldn’t boot up until the user account, which contained all my personal files, was removed. I had to save my files, but how? It took more than a day of trial and error before I managed to create a new account and save all but five of the files from the old account.

That was lucky. Those episodes don’t always turn out so well. On other occasions, I’ve lost days of work and months of e-mail messages. And there is always a chance of losing everything that’s on a computer or any other device where you have files. At least five times a year, I hear from someone who says, “I lost all my files! What can I do?” It seems to happen to everyone eventually: a broken hard drive, a misplaced CD, a stolen laptop, or a phone that won’t turn on. And then an important file that could so easily have been copied and secured the day before is gone forever. Or, in the worst case, all the files are gone.